Visit our Open Day
Saturday 15 November, 9am-3pm
Meet lecturers and current students. Find out about fees and funding opportunities.
The degree course offers a distinctive and industry-focused programme that develops creativity and innovative approaches to the fashion industry alongside business and management skills. It provides an integrated perspective on the many facets of the fashion retail sector, developing the intellectual, practical and professional skills that you will need to succeed in a career in the global fashion industry.
The Times Good University Guide 2010 ranks our Art and Design research in the UK’s top 10 – the highest-ranked institution outside London.
What's covered in the course?
During the first year, you will cover a variety of modules including the principles of buying and merchandising. The power of the fashion image will be explored using visual handwriting, brand image and styling as a vehicle for expressing visual identity. You will understand the principles of marketing and focus on your professional development with a three-week work placement. Visual Merchandising will introduce you to the psychology of retailing, product placement and in-store consumer engagement, by developing a store concept and product strategy for Topshop.
The second year includes trend forecasting and product development, understanding how trends emerge and are established for the commercial market. You undertake work experience of your choice for four weeks. You also plan and organise a live event and examine how brands operate on a global scale. You also learn the CAD package InDesign.
The third year will focus on understanding broad perspectives of culture and the influences and effects across a range of areas. Fundamental skills of research, experimentation and realisation will feed into idea generation for a new business concept, examining national and global lifestyle trends. You will put together a detailed dissertation around a subject of your choice and write a business plan to justify your business idea. In preparation for the world of work, you also develop a self-promotional package, outlining your professional credentials.
“Thanks to the course I have really great writing skills and I can create PowerPoint presentations to a business standard. I feel presentation is absolutely key to success and I wouldn’t have got my job at Next without these skills.”
Why Choose Us?
- You will learn about the roles of trend forecasters, buyers, merchandisers, stylists, visual merchandisers and fashion event organisers as well as the worlds of PR and fashion marketing.
- You will develop teamwork and communication skills, commercial awareness, aesthetic sensibility and keen observational skills – all vital in this competitive area.
- Through the first-hand industry experience of our staff, your learning is supported by contemporary knowledge, practice, and contacts.
- You will benefit from regular industry visits, listen to guest speakers from a variety of fashion brands, and have opportunities for cultural trips to London, Paris, Florence and New York.
- There is a chance to study at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, or Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, in your second year.
- The most promising third-year work is showcased at Graduate Fashion Week in London each June, offering an opportunity to network with industry professionals.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
|Typical UK Qualification||Requirements 2014/15|
At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications and/or experience will be accepted. Applicants will also need a good portfolio.
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBC at A-Level or 280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A-Levels|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||D*D* or combined with other Level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DMM - 280 UCAS points|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||D* or combined with other Level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
|BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design||Distinction|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||28 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||280 UCAS points - Higher Levels|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||280 UCAS points|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||120 tariff points combined with other Level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points|
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Unconditional Offers 2014/15
If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2014/15 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
|Typical EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2014/15|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||28 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
How to Apply
Full Time: Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: W2N2.
Apply via UCAS
Non-EU (International) students:. There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.
You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.
Fees and Finance
Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
|Sep 2015||FT||3 years||BA (Hons)||£9,000 per year|
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
|Sep 2015||FT||3 years||BA (Hons)||£11,500 per year|
Most of our undergraduate and postgraduate courses start in September/October, at the beginning of the academic year. However, some courses also have January/February or April start options. Short courses take place throughout the year.
Many of our courses can be studied on a Full-Time (FT) or Part-Time (PT) basis.
We also offer a Sandwich (SW) option for some courses – this usually involves two periods of Full Time study separated by a 'sandwich' placement spent working in an occupation related your course.
Online Learning (OL) courses can be studied remotely, usually using online learning tools.
Fees quoted are only for the academic year or start date stated. Fees may change in future years.
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
You will be able to access printing and materials at minimal costs through our workshops and may need to purchase you own small tools. There are additional costs for national and international field trips, if you participate in these.
Financial Options and Advice
We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.
Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:
We offer further information on possible financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
- Explore some of the good reasons why you should study here.
- Find out how to improve your language skills before starting your studies.
- Find all the information relevant to applicants from your country.
- Learn where to find financial support for your studies.
- Discover what current and former international students have to say.
Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally–recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
Saturday 15 November 2014 (9am - 3pm)
Our Open Days provide you with the perfect opportunity to visit the University and discover just what we have to offer. Registration is now open
You can learn more about our courses, great teaching and links with leading employers - as well as our £260 million investment in facilities.
There is a non-stop programme of events and activities running throughout the day, so we recommend that you arrive at 9am to ensure you get the most out of the day.
Who is it for?
The day will cover all levels of study but is predominantly for undergraduate courses.
15 November Open Day
University Approach to Employability
Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.
Read our Employability Statement to find out more.
Our graduates work for companies such as Next, Topshop, ASOS, Tesco - F+F clothing, Sainsbury's - TU clothing, Claire's Accessories, Nars Cosmetics.
Our graduates progress into roles such as Buying, Marketing, Merchandising, Visual Merchandising, PR and Events.
We have very successful UK and overseas students in all of these areas. We also welcome applications from mature students.
92 per cent of our graduates are in work six months after graduation. This has been consistent over the past three years. 50 per cent of our graduates are employed in managerial and professional roles, consistently in Buying and PR.
Students undertake a 3-6 week placement during their second year of study which provides them with industry connections.
About KIS data
From September 2012, all universities and colleges are publishing standardised information for all undergraduate courses in the form of a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS data is designed to meet the needs of prospective students and allow for informed decision-making when choosing a university course.
Putting our students first
We pride ourselves on our student satisfaction levels which have risen from 73 per cent to 83 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Our dedication to improving the student experience is illustrated by our award-winning student engagement, our close links with business and industry and our £180 million investment in new facilities.
82.2 per cent of graduates from the School of Fashion, Textiles and Three Dimensional Design who responded to our survey entered either employment and/or further study. The average full-time salary for a leaver was £15,600. Employers hiring leavers from the School include Bravissimo and Burberry London, in positions such as Assistant Buyer and Pattern Cutter.
Working with your Students’ Union
Improving student satisfaction is a priority commitment shared by both Birmingham City University and its Students’ Union. In its strategic planning, the Union has pledged to be more accessible, more relevant and provide more opportunity to engage with a diverse student community.
The Students’ Union is already a key stakeholder in supporting an excellent teaching experience at Birmingham City University, through joint projects such as the Extra Mile Teaching Awards and the Student Rep scheme, which allows students to share their ideas on how they are taught.
As Birmingham City University moves towards a two campus strategy where it can better support enhanced learning and student support facilities across a two-mile radius, the Students’ Union will also be better able to implement its commitment to improve communication and engage with its valued student membership.
The course is unique in that it explores the roles of fashion professionals who play a key part in the fashion industry. These include trend forecasters, buyers, merchandisers, public relations, stylists, visual merchandisers, fashion event organisers as well as store management and fashion marketing.
Teamwork, communication skills, commercial awareness, aesthetic sensibility and keen observational skills are fundamental to commercial success to enable you to become a confident individual and co-operative team-worker in the fast moving and highly competitive world of fashion.
Almost 80 per cent of respondents to the National Student Survey praised the enthusiasm of Creative Arts and Design staff, and the clear way they explained their subject.
A multi-million pound investment into facilities now gives you a creative technological environment to rival any studio in the country.
All modules are coursework based and last 4-8 weeks. There are no exams, assessments include written reports, presentations, mood boards, research, concept boards or live events.
At Levels 4 and 5 there are opportunities for work placements, 3 weeks at Level 4 and 6 weeks in Level 5, giving invaluable hands on experience and the opportunity to build contacts for the future.
In February we have an overseas trip to Paris and visit Premiere Vision and a trips to New York is currently being planned. We also have several visits to London each year to take in new exhibitions.
There are also opportunities for you to participate in an exchange with Politecnico di Milano, Italy or Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada as part of your second year.
- Visual studies and the fashion image
- Buying and merchandising
- Ethics and sustainability in fashion management
- Visual merchandising
- Fashion retail, marketing and the fashion economy
- Professional development and human resource management 1
- Trends forecasting and product development for fashion and lifestyle retailing
- Professional development and human resource management 2
- Global trends and international retailing
- Industrial placement
- Fashion event management, media and PR
- Independent project - realisation and production, creative strategy
- Independent project - realisation and production, business strategy
- Independent project - philosophy and self promotion
- Independent project - exploratory innovations
- Independent research project - perspectives
Marketing – understanding the principals of marketing to develop an idea for a specific sector of the fashion market.
Buying and Merchandising – developing a range for a high street retailer taking into account catwalk trends, their consumer, colour palettes, sourcing and sizing.
Visual Studies – remaking a garment or bag into a revived product and styling it in a photo shoot for a chosen retailer.
Visual Merchandising - designing a window concept for a retailer using CAD, taking into consideration catwalk trends, a theme, the consumer and the brand.
Professional Development and Human Resources Management 1 – including a 3 week placement. Developing skills for finding a placement and understanding the recruitment process.
Ethics and Sustainability – looking at the issues surrounding fashion manufacture and product life cycle and developing a range with green considerations for a chosen retailer.
InDesign- learning how to use the CAD package to produce professionally presented mood boards and look books to communicate strong visual themes.
Trends Forecasting & Product Development –Understanding forecasting techniques and how to apply them when developing a product for a future market.
Professional Development and Human Resource Management 2 – Further developing appropriate skills for finding a placement and understanding the recruitment process
Industrial Placement – work experience of your choice for 6 weeks.
Event Management – Creating a concept for a fashion event, planning, organising and executing the live event in order to raise money for a charity.
International Retailing & Global Sourcing – Looking at the International market place and understanding how brands operate on a global scale.
Independent Project 1 – Exploratory Innovations – Ideas generation for developing a new innovation or business concept, researching national and global lifestyle trends.
Independent Project 2 – Research & Concept Development – research into the chosen market sector will inform a detailed written report to justify a concept for the current and future fashion market.
Independent Project 3 – Refinement- Using the research from the previous project a detailed business plan and creative package will be produced to professionally communicate the business idea.
Independent Project 4 – Promotion & The Future- Developing a self-promotional package preparing for the world of work and your future career.
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.
Prospective students from the UK or EU
- Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a range of questions about our courses and studying here.
- If you need further help, you can contact the Course Enquiries Team online by using the Course Enquiry Form.
- Alternatively, call us on +44 (0)121 331 5595.
Prospective students from non-EU countries
- International enquirers from non-EU countries may enquire via the International Enquiry Form.
- Alternatively, call us +44 (0)121 331 6714.